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February 6th, 2009

Schools are cutting cost, and more reductions may be on the way

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Written by: The Iowa Republican

Scrimping and cost cutting have taken hold at Mid-Iowa community school districts after Gov. Chet Culver’s request in January that schools shave 1.5 percent from their expenditures.

A survey of area superintendents indicates that most of the reductions aren’t showing up in ways that students or parents would notice — yet.

But more cuts may be in the offing, according to sources who attended budget meetings this week in Des Moines, and some school officials said teacher contract negotiations have either been delayed or suspended until there’s a clearer financial forecast.

According to Collins-Maxwell Superintendent Doug Miller, school officials have been asked to keep further cuts in mind.

“We’re waiting to see what the state Revenue Estimating Committee comes up with in March,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

Miller said Department of Education Director Judy Jeffrey informed superintendents “that it’s very possible that another across-the-board cut” may be in the offing.

Boone Superintendent Theron Schutte said he heard similar predictions at meetings he attended this week.

“The March report is anybody’s guess, but there was talk that (cuts) could go to 2 percent,” he said.

Budget cuts take hold

As reported last month, Ames Community School District already has taken steps to reduce costs by more than $300,000 in an effort to reach Culver’s 1.5 percent order.

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The Iowa Republican

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